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USP Group calls for trading halt pending announcement

WATCH-LISTED USP Group requested a trading halt on Thursday morning, pending the release of an announcement.

Earlier this month, the mainboard-listed company had appointed a new chief executive officer, just days after independent auditors flagged a material uncertainty in USP’s fiscal 2019 results which may cast doubt on its ability to continue as a going concern.

Separately, USP on Sept 23 responded to the Singapore Exchange’s (SGX) queries regarding its annual report and financial statements.

Among other things, USP clarified on Sept 23 that it is selling its development property at 71 Blanford in Singapore, and that the option to purchase was exercised on Sept 5. The expected proceeds amount to S$3.28 million, and the sale is expected to be completed on Oct 17, USP said.

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SGX also asked why USP had purchased eco-fuel machines in 2014 and subsequently did not undertake the eco-fuel business. In its reply, USP explained that oil prices had crashed to a low of US$52, which made it not economically feasible to start the eco-fuel business.

USP also told SGX that the machines are being disposed as scrap metal. The management had sourced for potential buyers but to no avail due to the depressed oil prices. USP had written off the full carrying value of the machines and the deposit totalling S$14.1 million, according to the independent auditors’ report on Sept 13.

USP shares last traded at 3.5 Singapore cents on Sept 21.